tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current May 18, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
rmer mayor of san francisco is coming to current tv. >>every night on cable news networks everyone's focusing on what's wrong. i want this show to move past that. i love creative people, and with all the vexing problems we have we need creative thinking. >>(narrator) with interviews with notables from silicon valley, hollywood, and beyond. >>at the end of the day this show's simple. it's about ideas. ideas are the best politics. ideas can bring us together. >>(narrator) the gavin newsom show. premiers tonight at 11 eastern/ 8 pacific. only on current tv.
>> eliot: this week something remarkable happened. the federal judge in new york entered a order stopping the government from enforcing farther of a statute designed to permit the prosecution of those who assisted terrorists. the statute was so broad and ambiguous that it could be used to prosecute journalists and the basic first amendment rights could be infringed upon. they could have further clarified but it was voted down. joining me now is bruce lead counsel on the case that brought the surprising unexpected and good result. thanks for your time, bruce. first of all, tell us what the statute is and why in your view and now the judge that it was overly broad. >> the statute stated anyone could be brought into military detention for the duration of hostilities, and we know that
means indefinitely. >> eliot: do you mean the government can't make it a crime to support a terrorist group. >> yes, it could be a crime. >> eliot: the issue was not the notion of supporting the terrorist group but the lack of specificity of the statute that gave unbridled latitude to those who could choose whom to pick up and whom to prosecute. >> with the pull. >> eliot: i was a lawyer once. >> i know that. and we're similar pat sympati cico on this. >> eliot: who were in this. >> more on the left of course, and who have associates on the terrorist organizations who cover them. >> eliot: you say those on the left there has been push back
from very conservative individuals as well who likewise view the lack of specificity in the statute as something dangerous. >> absolutely herb titus put together a group to join us. conservatives and liberals joined together. >> eliot: you had these plaintiffs. you said, judge, this statute does what? >> this statute, judge, embraces any kind of speech touching on any kind of terrorist movement or fundamentalist movement in the world, and can take any speaker of that nature and force them in military detention and the judge agreed. >> eliot: and clearly it was the first amendment impact that troubled this court. >> she was deeply moved by that. she said as an applied basis, we call it. i said this is facially unconstitutional. >> eliot: when you challenge you prosecuted this person and that singular prosecution violates the constitution.
when you bring a facial challenge to the statute you are saying it's so overbroad that no matter what you do with it, it's unconstitutional, a much heavier lift. >> a much heavier lift. >> eliot: but you still won. >> we still won. it has only happened 20 or 30 times in the past few years. >> eliot: when the government lawyer showed up and was asked by the judge, give us guidance and explain the perimeters why legitimate journalists, why they could not be prosecuted, what did the government lawyer say. >> five times they said your honor, we will not answer that question. five times she asked them, will you bring them in military custody. and five themes they said we will not answer that.
>> eliot: from the colloquy from the transcript in her opinion was the sense that the government didn't want to give any guidance to a legitimate journalist about what they can write, and who they could talk to. >> the statute gives no guidance. no onethey have no idea if one would end up in the leavenworth. >> eliot: if you're trying to write an article about it, and in the course of research, you talk to them you write an article that expresses what they have said do you know if that doesn't create liability. >> chris hedges told the story to tell people who they are, and he has reason to fear this law. >> eliot: and the affidavit that you submitted on his behalf, he went through all that. he said, look, i need to know what i can and cannot do. >> this law gives no guidance
and all and seems to give the government this massive tool to use when it picks and choose who it wants to bring in. >> eliot: what happens now? >> what happens now we wait and see if the government wants to appeal. technically they could try for a full trial but when they offered no evidence, no affidavits, no documents, no witnesses, it seems likely there won't be anything further. >> eliot: there was a hearing and usually a political injunction hear something tantamount to a trial because the government had a chance to make it's record and failed. >> that's right. my co-counsel and i wanted the judge to enter a permanent injunction and let the statute be history. >> eliot: and then there would be an appeal. >> then there would be an appeal. >> eliot: you could only count ten instances of facial challenge to a statute like this has been entered second circuit, there are conservative judges there. i don't want to say that you won't win on appeal but how do you assess the difficulty going up the courts. >> i think in this case i think
we have success. this statute is so void of any guidance and so proud in its sweeping terms, i think we can win this. >> eliot: a fascinating case which pits the first amendment against legitimate security concerns and clearly a job of poor drafting by the congress, poor articulation by the justice department. great lawyering by you, maybe lousy lawyering by the justice department. many thanks for coming in. >> thank you eliot. >> eliot: outraged, a facebook titan is avoiding taxes. and the democrats want to do something about it. the viewfinder is next. (vo) the state of the 2012 campaign. brought to you by spiriva.
sam adams summer ale it totally reminds you of summer, you know? [ mocking tone ] i'm ms. brown. i'm soooo chocolatey. i'm giving away money to make people like me-eee -- is what he said. and i was like "you watch your mouth. she's my friend." friend is a strong word. [ male announcer ] chocolate just got more irresistible. find the all brown bag and you could win! >> coming up, the shocking abuse of undocumented immigrant workers. but first mitt romney is
standing by what he can't even remember saying. bill o'reilly is all about bipartisanship and rick santelli is unfortunately staying in the country. when it doesn't fit anywhere else, we put it in the viewfinder. >> anybody getting any money? anybody getting money, folks? >> mark zuckerberg has 503-point shares. at 38 shares its worth $19.1 billion. >> welcome to fabulous. >> one of the original founders now wants to denounce his u.s. citizenship so he doesn't have to pay $67 million in tax. >> he has done it. >> yes. >> and guess what, now there are two democrats on capitol hill who want to enact a new law so people can't do that any more. >> you would never renounce your citizenship, right? >> i would never. nobody is going to chase me out of my country.
>> if he's were president, i would say we have to put aside this partisan garbage. we have to make some compromises. eled it would be more of a spiritual uplifting type of thing. >> what is the beef from the obama administration? why are they trying to demonize americans like me who have made money the old fashioned way we earned it. >> of course everybody wants to talk about jpmorgan who beat up on jamie dimon. >> he lost $2 billion, right? they announced that on friday. then sunday they announceed that the guy responsible was stepping down. i'm like, we didn't even need that announcement. if you lose $2 billion don't show up on monday. >> good morning. >> oh, yeah, anybody see the game? [laughter] >> thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> all the best, sir. >> well, we have a developing story in ohio now, tom don't leave yet. sit there until the tease is
done. >> nice to see elmer fudd working again. >> nothing precisely what i said, but i stand by what i said whatever it was. and i'll go back and look at what was said there. >> eliot: i've said it before. easily the most awkward politician in history. coming up, what could immigrant farm workers do when they're sexually harassed or attacked? the problem is maybe not very much. that's next on "viewpoint." >> i'm lance armstrong. if somebody put my back into a corner, i'm coming out swinging.
up next it's out to the campaign trail. a surprising new poll, and that's next right here inside "the war room." [ kristal ] we're just taking a sample of all our different items in our festival of shrimp. the crab-stuffed shrimp are awesome! tequila lime tacos. [ man ] delicious! [ male announcer ] it's festival of shrimp! for $12.99 try any two shrimp creations like new barbeque glazed shrimp. offer ends soon. we're servers at red lobster. and we sea food differently. >> eliot: at least 50% of the united states agricultural workforce is comprised of undocumented immigrants. according to a harrowing reporting those hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers face high risk of sexual
harassment in the workplace. virtually all of the women interviewed described being victims of or witnesses to sexual misconduct. corroborating the mistreatment of immigrant works workers. >> eliot: this report comes as a house g.o.p. wednesday passed a version of the violence against women act that eliminates the limited but vital protections undocumented workers currently positive. here to discuss this disturbing contradiction is researcher grace meng. thank you for coming in. give us a sense of the magnitude of this problem and why you
think it exists. >> it's hard to put an exact number on the figure because it's so hard to survey a fearful population. but what is clear from our research, workers working a variety of crops in states across the country describe accounts that were similar, that followed a pattern of people abusing power. it became close to us that there were systemic reasons for these women's vulnerability and systemic reasons why they don't were the abuses. >> eliot: you have farmers who hire on a very temporary basis workers who travel and hence the name, migrate from one farm to another, based on when various crops are ripe for picking. >> right. >> eliot: the fact that the workers are undocumented makes them vulnerable. >> yes, and they make very little wages. they work long hours. they are often--because they are a migratory, they don't know the
services that are available in the towns that they're in, and it makes them isolated a vulnerable. >> eliot: when they are attacked harassed, victims of crime, where do they think they can go? >> a lot of women told me that they really didn't know where they could go. the women who have reported abuses to the police or filed lawsuits only did so with the help of lawyers and advocates people in their towns who could help them but it was not common for people to find such help. >> eliot: not to put too fine a point on it what are workers afraid of? they'll go to the police and then what will happen? >> i had women tell me in new york that they were afraid that the police would call immigration. that was a fear echoed in other places throughout the country. it's just a major factor in their fear. >> eliot: so what you're really dealing with here is the tension of forcing the laws that prohibit harassment, sexual violence, versus ins will come
in, get their names and law enforcement will turn them in and they'll be deported. >> i think it's laws like the anti-immigrant laws of alabama and arizona that encourage the local police get involved with local immigration issues, have fear of the police. they know that they're not here legally but these new laws and programs have sent a message that they cannot expect protection from the the police. >> eliot: is used to be the case that women protection act would give rudementry protection for migrant workers. >> there is a visa for those who work with law enforcement. women had received this visa and enabled them to move on with their lives. unfortunately, this visa if you have this visa when it expires you're allowed to apply for
legal permanent status this gives people confidence to go forward. but unfortunately they just passed the act that would eliminate this pass. >> eliot: what is the legal impact in terms of the willingness of people to come forward with evidence. >> you just imagine a woman going to the police and think, wow, i might be able to apply for a visa, but that will only last for four years. then where will i be? i'll be here without legal status. >> eliot: this is part and parcel in the larger legal chain in the legal dynamic where various states have led to the passage of laws that are anti-immigrant in tone and in the way they've been implemented. >> it's very troubling. i think one thing we're really clear at human rights law all persons regardless have a right of protection from crimes and other abuses. what is really troubling about the growing anti-immigrant
sentiment, the idea if you violateed immigration laws then suddenly you're no longer entitled to these rights. >> eliot: farmers have traditionally been supportive of immigrant rights. farmers, i remember when i was in government, i was surprised by this, farmers depend on the migrant workers to get the crops picked. there is almost a similar symbiotic relationship there. but this issue of sexual abuse and harassment is obviously a point of tension between the owner of the farm and the worker. how does this fit in the context where farmers have been supportive of immigrant rights. >> what is upsetting even in this industry, employer workers, they have not been able to pass--very serious bipartisan that has passed--this is an area where this is a broad bipartisan
support. >> eliot: i remember this when i was attorney general in up state new york, in agricultural communities farmers were the most vocal supportsers of workers, those coming in and doing sweeps, wrongs and completely disruptive to their miss model as well. what is next. >> we're urging congress to pass the violence against women act. that's the least they can do. but we have to be realistic and acknowledge it's not sustainable to be eating food that is grown by people who are undocumented. >> eliot: it was passed by 68 votes, and hopefully that protection you're talking about will emerge. the report is called "as a result kateing fear." which can be found on their website www.website.
>> eliot: later on, treasury secretary tim geithner says things that the at the new york federal reserve look bad. he can't admit that they are bad. come on, tim, get with the program. but first let's head west and talk to your friend governor granholm. what's on tap? >> we're talking vast right-wing conspiracy. >> eliot: how vast? >> so big, we're diving into the really conservative think tangor like alec, the american legislative exchange council and others. do you know there is an umbrella organization called the state policy network that has 59 of these billionaire funded think tanks? we have the perfect red state
candidate. his name is rich carmona. he's a purple heart veteran, he served the administration, he has poor roots, he has it all and he has a real shot at winning in arizona. >> eliot: what is that group. >> the state policy network. >> eliot: they did not invite me to join, did they invite you? >> no, and i bet they're not going to be happy that i talk about them tonight. >> eliot: put a big star over their name. i'm going to be watching that show. more "viewpoint" after the break. rr >>(narrator) gavin newsom, lieutenant governor of california, and former mayor of san francisco is coming to current tv. >>every night on cable news
networks everyone's focusing on what's wrong. i want this show to move past that. i love creative people, and with all the vexing problems we have we need creative thinking. >>(narrator) with interviews with notables from silicon valley, hollywood, and beyond. >>at the end of the day this show's simple. it's about ideas. ideas are the best politics. ideas can bring us together. >>(narrator) the gavin newsom show. premiers tonight at 11 eastern/ 8 pacific. only on current tv. ♪ >> eliot: tim geithner just can't get it right. asked last night on pbs whether he agreed with elizabether with republican's assertion that jamie dimon should resign from the board of the new york federal reserve bank, geithner's first instinct was to take a lap at warren. geithner tried to dismiss the issue as one of perception.
>> the american people need to understand that the fed was set up that way. those banks and the members of the board play no role in supervision. they have no role in the writing of the rules, and they play no roles in the way the fed reacts to financial crisis. the role is to provide perspective in the economy as a whole. i agree with you the perception is a problem and it's worth trying to figure out how to fix that. >> eliot: this is not just an issue of perception. what geithner doesn't tell you is that the board does the single most important thing any board does. it chooses the president of the fed. the person who does make all the decisions, writes all the rules, and makes all the calls in the midst of a crisis. geithner knows this, i assume he knows this. i assume he remembers who chose him to be president of the new york fed, the position he held before becoming treasury
secretary. including hank greenberg of aig fame, and john whitehead of goldman sachs. just a couple of regular joes representing the best interest of the public. don't be fooled by what geithner says when he says this is just a matter of perception. geithner bank the big banks guy in washington after he was chosen by wall street players to run the fed. it's about time the fed was run to represent the broader public interest, not the interest of wall street institutions. and to make that happen, we had better change the way the fed is governed, and step one is for dimon to resign or be forced out right now.
♪ >> eliot: it may have been the best week yet for mitt romney after going through a vitriolic primary, romney has now made it to the honeymoon phase, but can he turn the honeymoon into a long-term marriage. 50% of the country now views him favorably. the highest level of recorded since gallup began tracking romney's favorability back in 2007. the highest by 10 points. with his new-found favorability comes money. it seems to be pouring in for mr. romney, with the rnc raking in over $40 million in april just $3 million behind obama and the dnc. attempting to extend the honeymoon, the romney campaign released it's first general election ad. >> what would a romney presidency be like? day one president romney immediately approves the keystone pipeline, creating thousands of jobs that obama blocked. president romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job
creators, not punish them. president romney issues order to begin replacing obama care with common sense healthcare reform. that's what a romney presidency will be like. >> joining me now to recap the week that was is former response man for the gingrich campaign rick tyler and chris kofinis, democrats strategist and former chief of staff for senator joe manchin. thank you for being here tonight. >> good to be here. >> eliot: everything is defined in terms of doing something that president obama did not do or has done. not an affirmative mention. does that make sense to you? will this create an affirmative appeal that governor romney needs? >> well, governor, i'm a little biased because we came up with the day one idea with newt gringrich a year ago. we were contemplating the rolling out the day one plan so
i'm a little biased. you do need to contrast what you do with obama. he does this successfully. i will say that mitt romney has still failed to layout a compelling vision for what his presidency would be like, but this is a good start. >> eliot: i think you just touched on the last issue but counter punching in a counterpoint exclusively is not a vision. saying that i'm going to run a pipeline does not sound like you're running for president. when you're running pore president, you want to be the rabbi, the priest, the minister, the grand architect. building a pipeline, that's a ceo, chris, am i missing something here? >> no, you're not hissing not missing something. but there is no emotion to his campaign. you remember with senator obama's campaign, there was real motion. you could feel it. you could see it. you could see it in their message. there is no overarching message
in the romney campaign. it will get down to this technical policy about here's what we're going to do but not if we leave the country. until they make that connection, they're going to have a real problem connecting with voters. >> eliot: i agree with you emotion and passion is a wonderful thing when you can harness it but you can't manufacture it out of thin air. sarah palin, love her or not you got to give her credit for that line, how is that hopey changing thing working out for you. in a way they're saying, we're not that either. we're not this set of emotions that disappear. maybe you're saying it's better to be tangible real, concrete like a pipeline. rick, is there some mitter to that? >> i think romney needs to play to his strength. mitt romney needs to play to his strength. every time they try to make mitt romney relevant, they make him
more irrelevant. he has great business experience. he talks about turning around companies. i contend that government is not a business nor run like a business, but you have to buy the past, present and future together. once you buy a vision for the future and then tell me about your policies, they can say all they want and bash all the policies, i know where those policies leave me, but he has not laid out where those policies lead to. therefore his opponents can't say this policy is bad because of x y z, but people can say i want that vision, which is prosperity which i would argue for, then people understand it. people can say i'm for this policy because i want that vision. >> it sounds like very much what you were as spokesman of newt gringrich. i don't want to relitigate that stuff. but if you were mitt romney's
campaign adviser how would you capture that. >> you have to explain why there is hope in the future rand energy and economy. think about energy, it not only leads to the middle east policy but israel and foreign policy and job and you can tie that in very well because prosperous countries protect the environment better than anybody else. and you can talk about new technologies and it's very exciting future. but if you can do that and bind it in prosperity you can do that very well. the force is energy. >> eliot: i think you're right that is an issue above others one or four or five of them, but president obama has a great story to talk about when you get to energy in terms of what is already happening and in terms of domestic production and terms of pricing. i'm not sure that that is debate
that mitt romney wants to pick. but mitt romney's line ability is up over 50%. the president has stalled where he is. he played the same-sex marriage card. that did not generate a bump of any sort. the economy is hitting rocks to say the least. what would you say right now so they don't enter a long, hot summer. >> here is my biggest concern by democrats in general. we tend to count elections over before they're over. if you listen to some of the folks back in d.c. that i talk to, you would think that this campaign and this election is done. the reality is all his weaknesses and he has a lot of weaknesses, romney is going to be a formable candidate. it has nothing to do with him or his campaign but the circumstances that we find this country. there is frustration and anger. i think the obama campaign has to pivot a little bit. i think on the negative side i think they have to really under
cut this argument that he fixes thing. that's the crux of the romney campaign. onon the positive side if i were to advise him part of what you did and the thread you can tie if you will, in terms of all the decisions you made, healthcare, taxes, you stood up for the middle class. you stood up for those people who didn't have a voice. you stood up against those who were going to take the economy and the country off the cliff. that's the part that is missing a little bit. what is the campaign really standing for? in kind of a weird way they're trying to play the romney campaign in reverse under cut romney, and i don't think that will be enough. >> eliot: rick, you give response to that. the first debate, president obama stands up and says everything i did was geared to protecting the middle class. how does governor romney respond to that? >> that's a good argument and someone has to win that argument.
i would say that governor romney would win that argument by saying the president's record has led to the middle class struggling which obama wants to defend. for obama's policies you wouldn't have to defend the middle class. romney has to articulate that argument and why it leads to a much more prosperous future. he has got to get across that he'll do much better with his policies than the president. i think he could do that. >> eliot: i think what we're seeing neither side has an ease affirmative argument to make, and the white house with the millstone around its neck with where the economy is and drawing the contrast saying it would have been worse but for we come back from the depths of abyss. and the middle class still struggling. and governor romney still does not have an affirmative argument. give me ten seconds of affirmative argument for governor romney.